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In Transition Two

Castree (2005) argues that the world should not be neatly conceived as two ontological realms (natural-human), but instead ‘is characterised by myriad quantitatively different but intimately related phenomena’.

In recognising that life and landscape across both human and non-human elements are in seamless flux and in constant change it follows that thinking itself should also be relational. Whilst sensing a need to overcome the potential limitations of the nature-society binary, this work recognises the inherent difficulties in manifesting a visual language to achieve this. Massey (2005) argues that there are no simple or portable rules when negotiating places and inhabitants and that it must always be an invention dependent on judgment, learning and improvisation.

“Where most contemporary industrialised architecture favours the use of opaque, or occasionally, glass building material, the greenhouses built in Andalusia apply a range of translucent plastics to modify light and ventilation. Instead of appearing to be long-lasting and secure as buildings these massed edifices evoke a sense of permanent temporariness.

The structures are sited within raw and harsh semi-desert landscapes which impact on their appearance more rapidly than in other geographical settings due to the extreme heat, dust and strong winds. After a short time the environments become rich in symbiotic sites, where the manmade meets sunlight, heat, rain, wind and the slow creep and return of nature. Journeying in and around these novel spaces the experience is one of being held in a state of transition, liminality and indeterminacy.

By seeing everything through semi-opaque screening the inside, wherever that might begin and end, is a space of heightened contradiction where the scale is both vast and small in equal measures, leaving a sense of being open and yet closed. The taut synthetic fabrics, when observed through the camera, act either as an illuminated geometric plane to blend or hold complex visual ingredients or to dramatically reduce the available light and to obscure ingredients to a high level of abstraction.

Selective parts of the environments were observed close up with a receptiveness to subtle nuances of light, space and material. The framing of images concentrated attention on the micro landscape details and the organisation of space of different distances within the image planes. At that level, what should have appeared to be clearer in reading is revealed to have become more uncertain and perceptively messier.

When enlarged the surfaces of the thin layers of plastics deployed in the structures are seen to comingle with algae, desert dust, water stains and rough paint markings which are the by-product of enhancements made to the structures. Minor ongoing repairs to the structures by workers introduce a more vernacular or make-do-and-mend personality to the otherwise corporate forms. Particular images interrogate whether pictorial elements document something real or whether the print surface itself has been used as another additional surface for mark making. As the work evolved and became more refined for purposes of exhibition the characteristics of print surface and scale of image became important.”

  • Castree, N. (2005). Nature. London/New York: Routledge
  • Massey, D. (2005). For Space. London: Sage Publications
  • Excerpted from ‘[In Transition]’, in Emerging Landscapes ed. (tbc) (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp.(tbc). Copyright © 2013.